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Canada, Ukraine have a new security agreement

Feb 29, 2024 | Canada, Featured

Trudeau and Zelenskyy hold up the agreement. Photo: Office of the President of Ukraine

New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a new security agreement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a surprise visit to Kyiv, February 24.

The agreement builds on the G7 Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine, and outlines key, long-term security commitments for Canada to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity, protects its people, and rebuilds its economy for the future. As part of this commitment, Canada will provide $3.02 billion in critical financial and military support to Ukraine in 2024.

This includes some $320 million in new military spending, which is due by the end of the year, and $2.4 billion in loans for Ukraine, to be administered through the International Monetary Fund.

“War isn’t just experienced on the battlefield, it’s lived every day, by everyday people,” Trudeau said of the loans at a news conference in the Ukrainian president’s official residence.

“This money allows roads to be repaired after a bombing. It pays nurses and doctors who keep people healthy, and it supports Ukrainians as they fight back against Russia.”

What Trudeau signed is not a binding treaty, but rather an agreement that sets out a series of measures and expectations between the two governments over the next decade. A major portion of the text spells out what Canada is already doing in terms of aid and assistance, including participation in various allied equipment coalitions that are arming Ukraine, reported Murray Brewster of CBC News.

The deal also appears to set in place a framework for Ukraine to get better access to Canada’s defence industrial base, but major portions of the text are devoted to building the country’s “future” security force.

For example, unlike NATO’s self-defence clause, the security assistance agreement sees Canada committed to “provide support to Ukraine in the event of future Russian attacks or aggression.” That support, however, is not defined.

Trudeau said that is deliberate.

“One of the great fears that I’ve heard from many many Ukrainians is if there is a negotiated peace now or in a year to come, that’ll just give Russia a few years to re mobilize to rearm and then to complete the job that they failed to start to complete two years ago when they hope to take Kyiv in a matter of days, if not weeks,” he said.

Italy also signed its bilateral security arrangement with Ukraine on February 24. Other allied nations that have previously inked packages include Britain, Germany, France and Denmark.

In addition, the Prime Minister announced new support for Ukraine’s resilience and recovery efforts. This includes:
• $75 million in peace and security assistance, which includes demining, cyber support, and intelligence support.
• $15 million in preservation assistance, specifically supporting the completion of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide in Kyiv, helping preserve the memory of victims and survivors of the Holodomor, a systemic and heinous campaign of deliberate starvation by the Soviet regime that killed millions across Ukraine in 1932 and 1933.

The Prime Minister also announced the allocation of funding to the following:
• Up to $39 million in development assistance, to provide access to essential mental health services for vulnerable populations, help build food systems that are more resilient, and support efforts by local communities toward reconstruction and recovery.
• Over $22 million in humanitarian assistance, to support trusted United Nations and Red Cross partners in delivering critical assistance, including emergency health interventions, protection services, shelter, water, sanitation, and food, as well as the promotion of respect for international humanitarian law.
• Over $18 million in peace, security, and stabilization assistance, to support projects ranging from demining, to reducing threats from nuclear or radiological materials and chemical weapons, to countering disinformation.

While in Ukraine, Prime Minister Trudeau joined President Zelenskyy, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, and the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, to visit Hostomel Airport and the Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine, where they paid tribute to the countless brave Ukrainians who have been killed, injured, or displaced since the start of Russia’s war of aggression.

Trudeau pauses during a ceremony at Hostomel Airport in Kyiv. Photo: Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press

This was Trudeau’s third visit to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022. The Prime Minister was accompanied for this visit by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of National Defence, Bill Blair.


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